I have been traveling around this country presenting to both healthcare practitioners and as part of women’s health work shops and I am still amazed that many healthcare practitioners and the general public alike, still do not know what a proper menstrual cycle should be like. So many women still believe that many of the abnormal symptoms they put up with daily are actually normal and believe that they just have to put up with them.
OMG, if the healthcare providers have no idea, then how to we expect everyone else to know. This is why we are seeing so many women put up with gynaecological conditions such as Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, PCOS and many other symptoms they face on daily basis.
Every day I also get emails and facebook messages from women, or see them in clinic, asking me if PMS, menstrual irregularities and period pain is normal and I have to tell them it is not. To put it bluntly, PMS, severe PMS (known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder-PMDD), irregular cycles and period pain are not normal, and women should not experience any pain at all during your menstrual flow, and you shouldn’t have to put up with all the horrible symptoms leading up to your cycle as well.
The fact is that only 20-25% of women actually get menstrual pain and severe symptoms of PMS. Once there are a greater number of people with a condition, medically the condition is then classed as normal, meaning that a portion of the population get it. But the problem is menstrual pain and irregularities are not normal and these are signs of problems in the body that need to be checked out by a gynaecologist, reproductive medicine, or women’s health specialist such as myself. The sad thing is even then, some women are being missed, or offered the supposed quick fix, or patch, that will not fix their issues. The worse things is, in my line of work is that when these things are missed and masked and left for too long, women wake up one day and want babies, and can’t have them, or struggle to have them.
Once again menstrual pain and irregularities are not normal and no matter what mum, your best friend, or you GP says, women should not have to put up with it. It is not normal. Going on the oral contraceptive pill will not fix the cause of the issue either. It usually just masks a condition and this is why women need to see a gynaecologist or a women’s health specialist for any gynaecology issue.
So, I am going to tell you what a proper a menstrual cycle should be like and I’m going list what it should be like below. So that way if you are wondering why your menstrual cycle has gone crazy and you cant get enough Ibuprofen, or naprogesics, into your body when you get your cycle, then please remember the list below. It is so important that I tell everyone what a proper menstrual cycle should be like. If it isn’t like the one I describe you better book in to see me soon.
But, for those who may be trying to have babies, or think that all is OK, don’t be fooled into think that you don’t have a gynaecological issue because you don’t have pain, or irregularities either. Up to 80% of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic (Meaning no symptoms). Many women with PCOS also have regular cycle and all body types can have this disease, not just overweight women. It is so important for all women to get regular gynaecological check ups by a gynaecologist, or women’s health specialist such as myself, especially if you are trying to have babies and nothing is happening.
What a proper menstrual cycle should be like
- A proper menstrual cycle should be 26 –32 days in it’s length.
- It should be 4 days flow, 5 at the most. Any shorter than 4 days is too short and any longer than 5 days is too long. This isn’t good.
- You “Should Not” get any pain at all.
- You “Should Not” get clotting, spotting,
- You “Should Not” get severe breast tenderness, bloating, fluid retention, or changes to the moods, such as teariness or irritability.
These are all signs of irregularities and need to be addressed and many of the causes are above. Just remember that if you do get bad period pain, or your periods are irregular there is a good chance you may have endometriosis, or PCOS, or some other gynaecological issue and this need to be investigated.
Dr Andrew Orr
Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health Specialist
“The International Baby Maker” & “Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader”